Maybe this is hormonal. Maybe I’m now menopausal. Whatever. What I notice is that these days, I again hesitate to touch people lest I electrify them. I only touch skin where it’s covered with clothes.

Hubby doesn’t mind so much when I give us both a jolt as I run my fingers on his two-day-old bristles. He probably sees it as proof that what we got is electric. That should be flattering. Haha. He is a very prudent man, though. He checks my mood every time I enter his car. Come to think of it, he forked out a lot this year on his car’s electricals. Aaargh.

My SAs take to calling me “Storm” after the X-Men character played by Halle Berry on the big screen. Sometimes they catch me making the PC screen crackle as I wave my fingers about an inch from its surface, seeking to understand just what I have at my fingertips. Since I’m usually even-tempered in real life, they’re guessing on what would happen were I to blow my top like I do on my columns sometimes. This year, we decommissioned two printers and one automatic voltage regulator, and I can’t help thinking that maybe I did them in. It’s been an eventful year for me and who knows how the energy I’m generating gets converted by Mother Nature.

The downside is that electrical conductance could earn you looks that say you’re a freak. Like that time some weeks back when I accidentally hit a guy’s bare hand while literally making a dissenting point on what he’d written down on paper. “Tik” went the connection. It was enough to make everyone around the conference table turn saucer eyes on me. Someone swore he saw a momentary flash of light and did I do that?

“Probably”, I owned up. I know I have high electrical conductance, but I never figured out when it’s likely to manifest. The guy says no harm done. Still, I felt like a freak. All those wondering eyes. They didn’t look very friendly.

Anyway, I got my way on that one. Maybe I scared them all into agreeing.

I know there are people out there who have this affinity to static electricity. My youngest daughter, for example, likes to have her hair “pulled” by the television screen every time she turns the set on or off. She still has to literally jolt people, but I won’t be surprised when she eventually does.

People who emit electric shocks may be a minority, but I know I am not alone. Still, it’s kind of uncommon and it’s hard to take it all in stride when people turn saucer eyes on you. It’s enough to make you go on a guilt trip. You’d wish you had it under control, which, on second thought, would probably give you another set of problems. Oh man.

Anyway, I hope it goes away again. My constantly interrupted relationship with my PC has resulted to a thinner wallet and a lot of backlog. I find I can’t write comfortably on a laptop. The screen renders me dizzy and nauseous after a while. I’ve taken to carting a notebook around again – you know, the real thing, with paper pages and all. In this age of digital memory holders, yes, the paper notebook also earns saucer eyes. But what the heck, I have to do what I have to do.

(Wayward and Fanciful is Gail Ilagan's column for MindaViews, the opinion section of MindaNews. Ilagan teaches Social Justice, Family Sociology, Theories of Socialization and Psychology at the Ateneo de Davao University where she is also the associate editor of Tambara. You may send comments to gail.ilagan@gmail.com. "Send at the risk of a reply," she says.)